Writings by thinkers ranging from Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain to Bruno Latour that focus on the interconnections of technology, society, and values.
Technological change does not happen in a vacuum; decisions about which technologies to develop, fund, market, and use engage ideas about values as well as calculations of costs and benefits. In order to influence the development of technology for the better, we must first understand how technology and society are inextricably bound together. These writings—by thinkers ranging from Bruno Latour to Francis Fukuyama—help us do just that, examining how people shape technology and how technology shapes people. This second edition updates the original significantly, offering twenty-one new essays along with fifteen from the first edition.
The book first presents visions of the future that range from technological utopias to cautionary tales and then introduces several major STS theories. It examines human and social values and how they are embedded in technological choices and explores the interesting and subtle complexities of the technology-society relationship. Remedying a gap in earlier theorizing in the field, many of the texts illustrate how race and gender are intertwined with technology. Finally, the book offers a set of readings that focus on the sociotechnical challenges we face today, treating topics that include cybersecurity, geoengineering, and the myth of neutral technology.
Deborah G. Johnson is Anne Shirley Carter Olsson Professor Emeritus in the Science, Technology, and Society Program in the School of Engineering of the University of Virginia.
Jameson M. Wetmore is Associate Professor in the School for the Future of Innovation in Society at Arizona State University.
“Adopting the view that 'technologies don't just happen,' this book provides an excellent introduction to understanding the entanglement of technology and society. More than other introductions to science and technology studies, the reader foregrounds the relevance of studying race and gender.”
Nelly Oudshoorn, Professor Emerita, Science, Technology, and Policy Department, University of Twente, The Netherlands
“A stimulating collection that examines technology as a transformative force that people must shape in accord with principles of equity and justice.”
Ed Hackett, Professor Emeritus, Arizona State University, and Editor, Science, Technology, & Human Values
“Technologies infuse our lives even as they are always filled with our values. This carefully crafted collection helps readers to analyze and reflect critically on our own relationships with technologies, recognizing them as having both technical and social contents. What do you want your relationships with technologies to be? Which values? Which technologies? Dive into this book to figure out how you and your technologies might travel better together.”
Gary Lee Downey, Alumni Distinguished Professor of Science and Technology Studies, Virginia Tech
“This is the tech textbook we need now: a vision of decolonized sociotechnical futures, grounded in feminist, antiracist, and global historical analyses. Science fiction classics and computational labor history, engineering ethics and the philosophy of technology, critical take-downs and utopian dreams—this book has it all, carefully introduced and curated by the brilliant editorial team of Johnson and Wetmore.”
Kavita Philip, President's Excellence Chair in Network Cultures, University of British Columbia